Making light of stuff | Mark’s Remarks


Most people won’t admit they do this. We try to conduct ourselves with a degree of classiness, a modest amount of dignity. Yet most of us will admit we often want to laugh or cut up during serious times.

I know. How dare I.  Maybe the title of this column should be like the ice bucket challenges you see on Facebook. I am certainly not trying to make fun or diminish the seriousness of our current situation.

But do you sometimes just have to escape from being an adult? Do you find yourself giggling over bathroom humor or laughing until you snort like a pig?  Don’t you sometimes want to throw a crying fit over in the corner and kick and scream? Don’t you want to go have a good pout?  

Some of us are still throwing fits and pouting over things we may have found silly as children, actually. Thankfully too, some of us still have a silly giggle from time to time.

I have to say, sometimes I escape adulthood way too much.

My aunt, an accomplished seamstress, sent us several masks the other day and we were so glad to get them. 

As I said previously, all this video calling has made me realize how camera ready I am not. No matter what I do, I can’t seem to make myself look half-way decent on these calls. So, I just settle for looking like a version of myself someone might see through coke-bottle, high-powered lenses.

I put those masks on while the rest of my family did. They all looked nice and I’m wondering how these masks may become part of our style for some time. The girls all put theirs on while the local seamstress made alterations on their wedding apparel.  My sons put them on and looked good too.

Then there’s me. I put them on and the front of the mask fit strangely around the saggy parts of my face and produced a jowly look that my diet and workout is supposed to help diminish.

But that wasn’t the worst part of it. I fastened the elastic pieces around my ears and they quickly bent forward with little leprechaun-like folds. I could dress up for Halloween as a leprechaun surgeon or an elf dental hygienist.  I could be a character in the next Harry Potter book “Harry Potter and the Lost Appendix.” 

No matter what I did, I couldn’t make those ears look stately or fold correctly. So, I just walked around, looking embarrassed, hoping no one asked me where the pot of gold was.

I have a great need to cut loose under pressure.  I’m the one who smiles and laughs too much at funerals and visitations, which tends to upset people. The stern looks of my mother when I was a kid in church have been replaced by the stern looks of my wife. 

When I’m in a serious place, I get tickled by things that wouldn’t normally make me laugh. I can’t help it.

I’ve probably told you before that I have the cursed “fall down” trigger. I can’t help it either. I’ve tried.  When people fall, stumble, roll over, what-have-you and it isn’t intentional, I lose it every time.  After I calm down, I find out if they are OK.

Sometimes, my need for cutting loose combines with my curmudgeonly behavior. Those two attributes often spawn terrible sarcasm and caustic wit of which I am probably the only one laughing.

Case in point.  There is a restaurant on the corner that everyone goes to, no matter what. I think the place could serve catsup on cardboard (and sometimes their sandwiches rival that), yet the place is always buzzing.  

People complain about the place, the long lines, the way the workers greet you with “Kelp you?” when you pull up.  “People” meaning me.

In any case, I still go there. I meet my friends there for coffee from time to time. I roll through for coffee, for sodas, for cheeseburgers. I like the people who frequent the place and like the people who work there.

However, I can’t seem to get over the fact that every time I go in that place, the floor is a slimy, sticky, slick and gommy mess. You know what I mean. The floor has been mopped by someone who doesn’t know how to mop.  Furthermore, the person who trained the floor mopper doesn’t know how to mop either.

Folks, let me get on my grumpy old man soapbox for a bit. In order to clean a floor, it has to be swept and mopped with a clean mop and clean mop water. Oftentimes, it has to be mopped a second time.  Most people know this.

Yet, every time I go in there, it rivals an ice skating rink. Slimy, dirty, smudged floors. Watch your step.

Good coffee, though.

So, as I drive through the place I like but love to criticize, I wonder one thing: Is the floor clean?  Have they had time during this quarantine to clean that floor properly?  Would they care if I pecked on the window and gave them a lesson on mopping?

I know. No self-respecting male should be giving anyone lessons on how to mop a floor.

But heck, you gotta laugh a little.  Don’t you?

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